Guest writer Joe Crann shares an experience from his travels in Australia:
I write this as my skin peels from my body like PVA glue from a school kid’s fingers and feel fully satisfied for the first time since I arrived here in Australia.
I woke up on Friday morning, prepared to embark on my first real Australian adventure, up to the Daintree Rainforest to find some crocs, snakes and god knows what else. I was genuinely excited! I got on the bus and plonked myself at the back next to three extremely hungover girls; two were English (the worst kind) and one was Australian. I humoured them for the journey down while we rolled down the beautiful coastal roads of Northern Queensland.
Our first stop was a river cruise to look for the modern day dinosaur that is the crocodile. It wasn’t long until we found them, the scary looking reptiles sun themselves on the banks of the river and are never too far away. To see them in their natural habitat is really something, especially knowing the power that they have and what the morose looking creatures are capable of if you get just that little bit too close.
When we finally hit the rainforest, the landscape changed dramatically. You only see small and winding road that you’re on and then trees, trees and… more trees, all the way to the jungle “lodge” where I was staying.
As I waited in reception, completely alone, I got talking to a group of Paddy’s; Conor, Lucy, Katie and Fiona. Little did I know that I’d end up spending the majority of my weekend with these guys. We ended up rooming together in what can only be described as a shack, with only three bunk beds… Well, you get what you pay for don’t you.
Meeting the Irish turned out to be a stroke of good luck… Two of the girls seemed to have blood the equivalent of caviar for flies, and as a result, I escaped the weekend 100% mozzie bite free! Secondly they had free food tokens, which Lucy decided she’d trade me for beer, fair deal to me. I also got a free breakfast due to their impressive tactical breakfasting skills. I was really hard up for cash at this point, so these guys were a godsend. More importantly they were really cool people and had an awesome sense of humour.
First up was jungle surfing. This consisted of me zip lining over the Daintree Rainforest canopy marveling at it’s beauty from above before taking to the next tree at breakneck speeds. I’d have felt slightly more comfortable with the whole experience if my brains hadn’t simply been covered by a flimsy orange helmet with Tarzan written on it.
That evening I had a night walk booked. With only a torch, 11 others and myself wandered deep into the depths of the rainforest, completely at the mercy of whatever was hidden inside. I felt like Dora the Explorer as I held my torch at head height, watching out for the telltale glint of a reptile eye as we made our way over logs and creeks, through the dense rainforest undergrowth.
We saw frogs, snakes, rats, enormous bugs and sparkling fish in the rivers, all the while knowing that, though we couldn’t see them, there could be something just waiting for us to take that extra step. At one point our guide told us to all switch off our torches, and it was that dark that you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face, then, as our eyes adjusted, we started to see why he’d asked us to do so. All around us were glowing fungi, blue in colour, they shone in the darkness like fireflies as we all admired these beautiful gifts of nature.
It was during this trip I met up with yet another German and following it’s conclusion we shared a look that seemed to say “Fancy a Beer”, so we did, joining the Irish folks at the bar as we drank whilst being continually baffled by the locals lack of dignity as they danced the night away.
I slept surprisingly well to say that I was sleeping on a mattress with about as much cushioning as a sack of straw and in the knowledge that I was sleeping in a room surrounded by a few creatures that could easily kill me, and that was only the Irish, never mind the things in the rainforest!
This post is an entry to the Travelstart Blogger Experience competition, more information can be found here: http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/blogger-experience-contest/